When dealing with addiction and substance abuse, it can be easy to feel like you're facing the problem all alone.
Even when surrounded by friends and family who clearly want what’s best for you, that sense of isolation can persist: after all, how many of them know what it’s like to deal with addiction? Yet there are those who do know what it’s like: fellow addicts, which is why there are clear benefits to group therapy in addiction recovery.
On first arriving in addiction treatment, a client’s existing feelings of isolation may only increase as they deal with the possible effects of withdrawal and detox, but once the client reaches the point of entering treatment, finding a community becomes possible.
Therapy can take many forms, but one of the most common, and well-known, is group therapy. It’s been recreated, dramatized, parodied and more in countless movies, TV shows and other forms of media, to the point where everyone seems to think they know exactly how it works and what it entails.
We’ve all seen it: the group of patients, sitting in a circle, reluctantly telling their life stories at the prompting of a bored doctor. It’s so well-known it’s a cliche. But while it’s based on the truth, it’s far from the actual truth of the matter.
Group therapy is a major component of addiction treatment and recovery.
It links patients together, uniting them not only in their fellow circumstances of being in treatment together, but in their shared experiences before they reached treatment, in their background of substance abuse and their current struggles with addiction.
Yes, it will likely involve talking about yourself in front of a group of people who are initially strangers, but it’s not just about talking, but listening. By sharing experiences with one another, patients can learn they are not alone, that their stories of drug abuse and addiction are not unique, that their current feelings of helplessness and frustration in the face of continued addiction struggles are a common refrain among all recovering addicts.
In linking patients together this way, group therapy creates a community where there was once just isolated patients, each thinking they were alone and facing their struggles without anyone else who understood them.
Almost all addiction treatment programs will include some form of group therapy, but different programs will feature different elements in how they approach the sessions.
For instance Good Landing Recovery, as a Christian, faith-based treatment facility, will focus more prominently on Christian outreach and recovery methods than a secular program would, giving group therapy another level not seen in non-religious approaches to the treatment.
However you choose to get treatment, group therapy is a vital component of any approach to an addict’s search for recovery, providing support, understanding, release and an overall sense of community to all those who participate. It is an essential part of the recovery process for almost every addict seeking relief from substance abuse and addiction.